Thanksgiving is right around the corner! It’s a great time of year to appreciate our loved ones, honor family traditions, and eat lots of delicious festive foods. As you think of all the things you’re thankful for this year, don’t forget to be grateful for your teeth! After all, your pearly whites help you talk up a storm with friends and family, smile for holiday photos, and enjoy all your favorite meals. Here are five ways you can maintain great oral health this holiday season and appreciate your teeth this Thanksgiving!
1.) Fill Your Plate with Smile-Friendly Foods
Many foods you’ll find during a traditional holiday meal are great for your oral health, including:
- Turkey: The main dish of most festive dinners as well as other lean proteins are easy on your teeth and full of beneficial nutrients.
- Green bean casserole: Vegetables are brimming with a garden variety of vitamins that boost oral health, and soft, cooked veggies in casseroles won’t wear down your enamel.
- Macaroni and cheese: Dairy products are a great option for strengthening your teeth and jawbone with calcium. Just don’t overindulge in starchy pasta!
2.) Wash Down Your Meals with Water
Staying hydrated is important all year long, especially so during the holidays. Drinking plenty of water with your meals will keep lingering particles off your teeth, which lowers your risk of cavities and bad breath.
3.) Watch Out for Sweets and Starches
Eating too many of the wrong foods this time of year can leave you with a mouth full of cavities before January! Make sure to avoid or limit eating:
- Sticky sweets: Candied yams, ambrosia salad, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and pecan pie all leave sticky, sugary residue on your teeth that can be difficult to clean off.
- Starchy sides: Mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, stuffing, and other starchy side dishes fuel cavity-causing bacteria just as quickly as sugar does.
4.) Save Snacking for Mealtimes
For many families, it’s traditional for holiday meals to be an all-day event. However, the more often you eat snacks and appetizers throughout the day, the more you increase your risk of tooth decay. Keep cavities at bay by saving snacking for mealtimes and drinking plenty of water.
5.) Pick Smart Sweets for Your Smile
Staying away from all sugary treats during the holiday season can be a nearly impossible task for many of us. Instead of giving up sugar completely, indulge (with moderation) in sweets that are safer for your smile, like:
- Pumpkin pie: This classic fall-flavored dessert is full of nutrients like vitamin C and calcium, which are great for your teeth.
- Soft cookies: While crunchy gingerbread cookies or crispy peanut brittle can weaken your teeth, soft sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and peppermint patties are easier on your enamel.
- Smooth cheesecake: As long as your cheesecake doesn’t have any hard nuts or sticky caramels, it can be a sweet and safe treat for your smile.
There are plenty of reasons to smile during the holidays. Keep these simple tips in mind to appreciate your teeth this Thanksgiving and keep them healthy well into the new year.
About the Author
Dr. Dinesh Patel of Summit Family Dentistry is proud to care for the smiles of Waterford and the surrounding communities with personalized, high-quality oral healthcare. From state-of-the-art dental technology, custom treatments for the whole family, and fantastic patient amenities, he goes above and beyond to make caring for your smile as pleasant as possible. He is committed to taking the time to get to know each of his patients and build relationships with them so they can receive the best care available. To learn more, he can be contacted via his website or at (814) 923-4510.